Our Story

WE HELP ARTISTS BUILD THEIR

COMMUNITIES AND MAKE A LIVING

Most artists generate less than a quarter of their income through their art. More than two million people have art degrees, yet only 8% make a living as artists — and that’s just in the United States. There is a void in the arts. We are working to fill it.

Sources: Paying Artists, BFAMFAPhD

What We Do  

We help artists of all kinds build their communities and make a living.We believe that artists and arts participation benefit from an ecosystem that encourages direct exchange between artist and audience. We offer online courses, consultations, and interviews with independent creators on DIY arts business topics. 

Co-Founders Siena Oristaglio, Karina Vahitova, and Noah Blumenson-Cook have a combined 30 years of experience in art-making, communications, web strategy, online fundraising, education, and media production for the arts. Over the last few years, we've helped artists raise a total of 1.6 million dollars (and counting) towards their crowdfunding projects. 

How We Do It  

EDUCATION

We’ve created a series of affordable online courses to empower artists with the knowledge needed for financial sustainability. As we grow, we’re partnering with everyone from fellow artists to lawyers to technology leaders to assemble a complete curriculum for independent artists.

COMMUNITY

We’re a learning community — here’s what that means: our courses are built to create evolving dialogue. The challenges facing artists can’t be solved in a vacuum; we need everyone to share what’s working and what’s not. On our forums, you can meet and talk with other artists, ask questions, and tell your stories. 

RESEARCH

Artists using the internet to make a living is a new phenomenon. The tools and techniques that work for artists are evolving quickly and our research needs to evolve just as fast. We use our extensive research as the foundation for our courses, workshops, and webinars. We also share what we find for free on our journal!

 WHO WE ARE 

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Siena Oristaglio

is an artist and educator. She has ten years of experience in commnications and has led international campaigns with coverage in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post. As Director of Communications for Marina Abramovic Institute, she ran the non-profit’s successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign, raising over $660,000 in 30 days. Siena has been a presentation leader at the The Museum of Fine Arts, New York University, MoMA, MoMA PS1, and Necker Island, among others. Pronouns: they/them/she/her.

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Karina Vahitova

is a post-Soviet queer poet, a cautious art historian, writer, and dancer from Kiev, Ukraine. She has previously worked with Opportunity Project (helping to develop healing art therapy programs for individuals with brain damage), Studio Formichetti, and Bullett Magazine. Before founding The Void Academy, she led and managed the global research and performance art archive project at Marina Abramovic Institute. She has worked with a broad network of international emerging and established collaborators within the arts and sciences. Pronouns: she/her.

An Interview with Void Academy Co-Founder Noah Blumenson-Cook

Noah Blumenson-Cook

 is an artist, technologist, and media producer. His video work has been featured by V Magazine, Complex, Spin, MTV and the Logo network. He has more than 15 years of experience in the technology sector, working principally with universities, arts organizations, and technology companies. As technology consultant for MIT's Center for Civic Media at the Media Lab, he focused on project implementation and funding strategies for new ideas in civic journalism and online engagement. Pronouns: he/him/they/them.

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Winter Mendelson

 is a genderqueer writer, editor, producer, and creative director. They are the Digital Media Strategist for The Void Academy as well as the Founder of Posture Magazine, a digital and biannual print publication that explores identity through fashion and artistic practice.Winter has been featured in major publications such as NY Mag’s The Cut, Vice’s Creator’s Project, Huffington Post, OUT, Bust, Curve, and more. When they are not lost in the wonderful world of digital and print media creation, Winter is reading nonfiction, watching films, looking for animals to cuddle with, and planning their next adventure. Pronouns: they/them.

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